Sunday, August 21, 2016

Postmark: August 21, 1957

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Overnight rains have delivered a lovely morning in downtown Kansas City.  It's a comfortable 80 degrees at 11:30.

The headlines are about Jimmy Hoffa, teamster boss, testifying before a Senate committee on racketeering, and about a new Western Electric manufacturing plant planned for Lee's Summit, and about rain and wind disrupting last night's performance of "Damn Yankees" at Starlight. 

Today is the final day of the 33rd annual Toy and Gift Show, thousands of midwestern retail buyers filing through the Exhibition Hall of Municipal Auditorium, placing orders for the coming gift-giving season: handmade puppets from Germany, dolls from China, jewelry from Thailand, music boxes from many countries. Remote-controlled knights on horseback, hi-fi sets built to look like Edison's gramophone, new novelties like a Christmas tree of green plastic that breaks down for storage in a small box.

But it's tough to imagine December in August, and out-of-towners might be thinking ahead to the possibilities for one last evening in Kansas City. 

There's "Damn Yankees," of course, but there's also the real thing out at the ballpark: the real Berra-Mantle Yankees against the Zernial-Cerv A's in game two of a three-game series. (KC shut 'em out last night.) Both options mean finding a ride to Swope Park or Municipal Stadium. And this town is still getting used to having no streetcars, gone now two months.

No need for rides if you're staying downtown, the pedestrian's delight. The premiere of the wide-screen Cinerama production of "Seven Wonders of the World" at the Missouri Theater, 14th and Main, is sold out (former President and Mrs. Harry Truman have their tickets). But the Paramount, two blocks north at 12th street, has Elvis Presley in "Loving You." And on stage at the Folly Theater is Lily Shawn, Fiery Flame of Burlesk. And Eddy's supper club, 13th and Baltimore, has Tony DiPardo's Orchestra backing up the Hilltoppers, four twenty-something males who apparently have many teen fans here, according to a story in this morning's Times.

"You take girls who will cry, or come pretty close to it, when they hear a real nice ballad and that's the kind who will join a Hilltoppers fan club," says one member. "There's nobody in these clubs has any use for Elvis," says another. "Only one girl even likes Pat Boone and she only likes him a little bit."

Someone weary of night life might prefer a quiet dinner in the hotel followed by an evening in front of the radio (Edward R. Murrow, Amos 'n' Andy, Top 40 or Country Swing) or the television (Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, I've Got A Secret).

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, a few words to the folks back in Kinderhook, Illinois, on a postcard of the Hotel President ("Close to shopping district, theatres and one block from Municipal Auditorium") ...

Hi –
  Am spending my other 3 days vacation
here. Came down with Jean Collier 
to the gift show.
  Will hate to go back to work. 
The weather is wonderful.

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